Six infants reported dead in one week

Six babies die this week in tragic sequence mostly striking haredi communities. Learns causes of SIDS and how to avoid it.

Shoshana Miskin ,

Baby (illustrative)
Baby (illustrative)

This past week was particularly difficult for six families who lost their young children as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), with three of the deaths occurring Thursday morning.

Kikar Hashabbat reported that around 6 a.m., a three-month-old baby lost consciousness and was taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, but unfortunately resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. An hour-and-a-half later, a five-month-old girl was pronounced dead in Modiin Illit, after her parents found her not breathing and without a pulse. About an hour later, at 8:20 a.m., a one-year-old from the southern village of Arara was also found dead.

The three Thursday morning are joined by another death which occurred Wednesday at 8:40 a.m. Magen David Adom (MDA) proclaimed the death of a one-year-old girl from Bnei Brak after she was found unconscious in her bed and lacking any vital signs.

On Monday, a three-month toddler was found unconscious in her bed. Later, she was declared dead at Tel Hashomer Hospital. In addition, a four-month toddler from the Bedouin town Bir Hadaj in the south was brought to a clinic when she fell unconscious. Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva pronounced her death.

SIDS claims the lives of 40 babies each year

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: waking up in the morning and finding their little one lifeless.

SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant who is younger than 1 year old. It is rare and most deaths happen during the first six months of a baby's life. Infants born prematurely or with a low birth weight are at greater risk, and SIDS is also more common in baby boys.

In Israel, 40 babies die die every year as a result of SIDS. The cause of SIDS is still unknown, but guidelines for parents developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Israel's Ministry of Health in the country have managed to reduce the number of deaths.

How to prevent SIDS?

DO always put your baby to sleep on his back.

Note that all caregivers: parents, grandparents, nanny, and so on, make sure the baby is asleep only on his or her back and not on the abdomen. Don’t put your baby to sleep on their side; even for a baby who was born prematurely it is especially recommended to lay them on their back.

DO make sure the crib mattress is firm and tight-fitting.

Use a hard mattress, adjusted for crib use. It is recommended to use sheets and blankets that stretch tightly across.

DO surround the baby in a safe environment both inside and outside.

Maintain a safe crib environment. Keep away from the sleeping area soft objects such as pillows, dolls, heavy blankets and quilts, diapers and soft toys. Make sure that no electric cords, curtains or drapes are around baby’s bed.

Carrycots, car seats, infant seat carriers and car safety seats are not intended for at home sleep routine especially with babies under 4 months.

DON'T share your bed with your baby.

It is recommended to sleep in the same room with the baby, but not in the same bed, as sleeping in the same room is a common factor in reducing the risk of accidental suffocation.

A baby after feeding in bed, or after being calmed by an adult in bed should be transferred back to the crib to sleep. The Health Ministry also notes that sleeping in the same bed with a baby is dangerous in cases where the parents smoke or consume alcohol.

DO use a pacifier at sleep time.

If breastfeeding, it is recommended to only use a pacifier for bedtime until the age of 3-4 weeks in order to establish a breastfeeding routine. Do not connect the pacifier chain or any other connection that may cause choking.

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS.

DON'T overdress your child or put his crib near a heat source.

Avoid overheating your baby by only wearing one layer above the amount of clothes adults need under the same conditions. Recommended room temperature is 22-24 degrees Celsius (71-74 Fahrenheit). There should be proper ventilation and air circulation in the baby’s room.